These video choices give different view to the season

December 22, 2003|JENNIFER BRUMMETT

There is a wealth of holiday-themed films available for rental. Some of them are quite good; others are forgettable, and, of course, everyone’s opinion varies on which falls into what category.

I mean, hey, I got a wild hair a couple of years ago, about this time, and caught up on all the horror movies I’d always wanted to see and hadn’t. I guess it was a little rebellion on my part — it was a week of The Omen — all three of them; The Exorcist; Hellraiser; The Amityville Horror; and The Puppet Master.

But I digress. For those of you for whom the thought of watching Rudolph or Frosty one more time makes you want to gag, I’ve put my mind to following a twisting trail to alternative holiday viewing possibilities for a few of the flicks. And I’ll try to explain the winding road I traveled to arrive at my suggestions, which range from comedies and animated flicks to dramas and a lone horror film.


It's a Wonderful Life: Is it possible to get through a holiday season without watching this Jimmy Stewart-Donna Reed classic? Angels getting wings, cute kids, the importance of family and why life is worth living - all are powerful elements in the film. If you want another take on family life, see ...

The Royal Tenenbaums: When Dad (Gene Hackman) announces he's terminally ill, three child prodigies - his children, played by Luke Wilson, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Stiller - give him an opportunity to make up for lost time. Dad Tenenbaum left them years earlier, causing the children a variety of psychological problems that are amusing. The film is a totally different take on family life - if you're looking for an alternative.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: This charming venture is as timeless as holiday entertainment comes. Who doesn't like the story of the little reindeer who could? OK, some of the Scrooges are holding up their hands, but many folks like this little story. Rudolph saves Christmas and all that. For more animals "who could," see ...

Seabiscuit: The little horse who capture a nation's heart during the Depression. And now, it's even out on VHS and DVD. It's a heart-warming story, and a good film, too. The film features several underdogs who persevere and somehow, some way, come out on top.

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: Chevy Chase's zillion and one Christmas lights that cause a neighborhood blackout are immortal. Every year I seem to find a new NLCV house, or one that looks to be in competition with the film's house. This is a goofy, funny movie, for the most part - nothing spectacular, but a bit of light-hearted fun. For more from National Lampoon, see ...

National Lampoon's Animal House: Toga, baby, toga. This frat house comedy has stood the test of time, evolving into a near-cult classic. It also marks one of John Belushi's high points as an actor. Thank you, sir - may I have another?

A Christmas Carol: I love to watch bad boy Ebenezer Scrooge get his - and a quick check of the Internet Movie Database ( turns up no less than 42 versions of Dickens' classic holiday tale. More power to the Dickens aficionados. For more of Dickens, see ...

Any variation of A Christmas Carol: And there are plenty of variations from which to choose. You have The Muppet Christmas Carol, Mickey's Christmas Carol, An All Dogs Christmas Carol, Bugs Bunny's Christmas Carol, Skinflint: A Country Christmas Carol. Plus many, many more. Feasibly, you could spend an entire week (or so) watching all the variations of A Christmas Carol. All Ebenezer, all the time.

White Christmas: A couple of song-and-dance acts - two men, two women - team up to perform a Christmas show at a lodge. Featuring performances by Bing Crosby, Danny Kate, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen, White Christmas is considered by many to be more worthy of must-see holiday viewing than It's a Wonderful Life. If the idea of a snow-kissed lodge/hotel/inn for a little R&R is particularly appealing to you, see ...

The Shining: This film might change your mind about snow-kissed anything. Jack Nicholson turns in a vicious and spooky performance as a writer who loses it during strange goings-on at an isolated hotel, where he is caretaker. Oh, I love a mad writer.

Frosty the Snowman: I love the Jimmy Durante fix I get as good ole Frosty and his little pal elude the mean magician who wants Frosty's magical hat. Happy birthday, indeed. And if you like that little hint of magic, see ...

The Secret Garden: Sometimes, all you need to do is believe that there's magic in the air, as young Mary Lennox does when she happens upon an abandoned garden at her reclusive uncle's estate. Soon, it becomes the bewildered child's refuge from a mean housekeeper. Do you believe in magic?

Central Kentucky News Articles